Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom.
Elaine Scarry (Released 2014-02-24). W. W. Norton & Company.
First, then, the technological readiness of the United States to retract life from beneath the floor of the world’s inhabitants. The country’s nuclear arsenal includes, but is by no means limited to, fourteen Ohio-class submarines , each carrying the equivalent in injuring power to 4000 Hiroshima blasts.1
Each one of the fourteen ships carries enough power to destroy the people of an entire continent, to do this as a solo performance, without the assistance of its thirteen fellow ships. The precise arithmetic of this blast power can be hard to keep in mind. But one pair of numbers is easy to grasp: the earth has seven continents; the United States has fourteen Ohio-class submarines.
The United States population often imagines that the arsenal came into being during the Cold War with Russia and that its importance ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But of the fourteen Ohio-class ships, eight were built, christened, and commissioned after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Here are their names and birth dates.
SSBN USS West Virginia was launched in 1989 and commissioned in October 1990 with the words, “Man this ship and bring her to life .” SSBN USS Kentucky followed. Then, USS Maryland was launched in June of 1991 and commissioned on June 13, 1992. Then came SSBN USS Nebraska. Then, SSBN USS Rhode Island (“ Man this ship and bring her to life”). Then came SSBN USS Maine, launched in July 1994 and commissioned in July 1995; followed by USS Wyoming, launched in July 1995 and commissioned in July 1996 . Finally, USS Louisiana was launched in 1996 and commissioned on September 6, 1997: “Man this ship and bring her to life.”
These eight ships— just the eight built since the fall of the Berlin Wall— carry the equivalent of 32,000 Hiroshima bombs. Each holds within its sleek contours eight times the full-blast power expended by Allied and Axis countries in World War II (this includes, in addition to the nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the firebombing of sixty-seven other Japanese cities, the firebombing of Leipzig and Dresden, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the nightly bombing of London, and six years of artillery fire on beaches, woodlands, hillsides, and cities).
Together, the eight ships built since the fall of the Berlin Wall carry sixty-four times the total blast power expended by all sides in World War II. The launching, christening, and commissioning of these ships was not covered in news reports, not even in the states whose names are borne on the ships along with their heavy cargo. ...
We own 3100 Trident I and Trident II warheads designed for our Ohio-class submarines (with a total blast power of 273,000,000 tons of TNT)24.
1. Each Ohio-class submarine has 24 missiles; each missile has 8 warheads; hence each ship has a total of 192 warheads. The Trident II warhead (Mark 5 W87) can be either 300 or 475 kilotons. Three hundred kilotons times 192 warheads equals 57,600 kilotons or 57.6 megatons. The weapon used in Hiroshima was between 12 and 15 kilotons; therefore, a middle figure of 13.5 kilotons can be used. More arithmetic: 57,600 kilotons divided by 13.5 kilotons is 4266; therefore, each Ohio-class submarine carries the injuring power of 4266 Hiroshimas. If the submarine instead uses a 475-kiloton Trident II warhead, the submarine carries the injuring power of 6755 Hiroshima explosions (for the Trident II warhead figures, see William Arkin, Thomas Cochran, and Milton Hoenig, U.S. Nuclear Forces and Capabilities, Nuclear Weapons Databook, vol. 1 [Pensacola, FL: Ballinger, 1984], p. 15). The numbers just given here are conservative. Often officials give much higher numbers. A Department of Energy newsletter quotes Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder as reporting that the SSBN West Virginia carries the equivalent of 7680 Hiroshima blasts (“Tuck Tells House Panel Rocky Flats Start Up Off until Third Quarter,” Inside Energy/ with Federal Lands, March 26, 1990). Schroeder’s figure is based on the calculation that the submarine has 192 warheads each with forty times the power of that used against Hiroshima. The number of missiles on each Ohio-class submarine is consistently reported as 24; the number of warheads on each missile is usually designated as 8, but is sometimes as high as 17.
24. Natural Resources Defense Council, “Table of U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces, 2002.”Related:
2014-0488.htm ICBM and Nuclear Bomber Commanders Eyeball March 24, 2014
The U.S. Navy's Trident nuclear powered submarine Alaska (SSBN-732) is guided into an explosives handling wharf at the Naval Station, Submarine Base, Bangor, WA., 15 August 1998. Source
1/9/2009. KINGS BAY, Ga. - The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) approaches Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga. Photo by: Lt. Rebecca Rebarich Source
Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines - SSBN
Since the 1960s, strategic deterrence has been the SSBN's sole mission, providing the United States with its most survivable and enduring nuclear strike capability.
The Navy's ballistic missile submarines, often referred to as "boomers," serve as an undetectable launch platform for intercontinental missiles. They are designed specifically for stealth and the precise delivery of nuclear warheads.
The 14 Ohio-class SSBNs can carry up to 24 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with multiple independently-targeted warheads. However, under the New Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, each submarine will have four of its missile tubes permanently deactivated in the coming years. The SSBN's strategic weapon is the Trident II D5 missile, which provides increased range and accuracy over the now out-of-service Trident I C4 missile.
SSBNs are specifically designed for extended deterrent patrols. To decrease the amount of time required for replenishment and maintenance, Ohio-class submarines have three large-diameter logistics hatches that allow sailors to rapidly transfer supply pallets, equipment replacement modules and machinery components thereby increasing their operational availability.
The Ohio-class design allows the submarines to operate for 15 or more years between major overhauls. On average, the submarines spend 77 days at sea followed by 35 days in-port for maintenance. Each SSBN has two crews, Blue and Gold, which alternate manning the submarines and taking them on patrol. This maximizes the SSBN's strategic availability, reduces the number of submarines required to meet strategic requirements, and allows for proper crew training, readiness, and morale.
Point Of Contact
Office of Corporate Communication
Naval Sea Systems Command
Office of Corporate Communications (SEA 00D)
Washington, D.C. 20376
General Characteristics, Ohio Class
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat Division.
Date Deployed: Nov. 11, 1981 (USS Ohio)
Propulsion: One nuclear reactor, one shaft.
Length: 560 feet (170.69 meters).
Beam: 42 feet (12.8 meters).
Displacement: 16,764 tons (17,033.03 metric tons) surfaced; 18,750 tons (19,000.1 metric tons) submerged.
Speed: 20+ knots (23+ miles per hour, 36.8+ kph).
Crew: 15 Officers, 140 Enlisted.
Armament: 24 tubes for Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles, MK48 torpedoes, four torpedo tubes.
USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730), Bangor, WA
USS Alabama (SSBN 731), Bangor, WA
USS Alaska (SSBN 732), Kings Bay, GA
USS Nevada (SSBN 733), Bangor, WA
USS Tennessee (SSBN 734), Kings Bay, GA
USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735), Bangor, WA
USS West Virginia (SSBN 736), Portsmouth, VA
USS Kentucky (SSBN 737), Bangor, WA
USS Maryland (SSBN 738), Kings Bay, GA
USS Nebraska (SSBN 739), Bangor, WA
USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740), Kings Bay, GA
USS Maine (SSBN 741), Bangor, WA
USS Wyoming (SSBN 742), Kings Bay, GA
USS Louisiana (SSBN 743), Bangor, WA
Last Update: 6 December 2013
Trident Fleet Ballistic Missile
Intercontinental ballistic missiles launched from submarines.
Trident II (D5) missiles are deployed in Ohio- class (Trident) submarines, each carrying 24 missiles.
The Trident II (D5) is a three-stage, solid-propellant, inertially guided FBM with a range of more than 4,000 nautical miles (4,600 statute miles). Trident II is more sophisticated than Trident I (C4) with a significantly greater payload capability. All three stages of the Trident II are made of lighter, stronger, stiffer graphite epoxy, whose integrated structure means considerable weight saving. The missile?s range is increased by the aerospike, a telescoping outward extension that reduces frontal drag by about 50 percent. Trident II is launched by the pressure of expanding gas within the launch tube. When the missile attains sufficient distance from the submarine, the first stage motor ignites, the aerospike extends and the boost stage begins. Within about two minutes, after the third stage motor kicks in, the missile is traveling in excess of 20,000 feet (6,096 meters) per second.
Submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) have been an integral part of the strategic deterrent for six generations, starting in l956 with the U.S. Navy Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) Polaris (A1) program. Since then, the SLBM has evolved through Polaris (A2), Polaris (A3), Poseidon (C3) Trident I (C4) and today's force of Trident II (D5). Each generation has been continuously deployed at sea as a survivable retaliatory force and has been routinely operationally tested and evaluated to maintain confidence and credibility in the deterrent.
Trident II (D5) was first deployed in 1990 and is planned to be deployed past 2020. The Trident II (D5) missile is also provided to the United Kingdom which equips the missile with UK warheads and deploys the missile on Vanguard Class UK submarines.
Point Of Contact
Department of the Navy,
Strategic Systems Programs
Arlington, VA 22202-3930
General Characteristics, Trident II (D5)
Primary Function: Strategic Nuclear Deterrence.
Contractor: Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., Inc., Sunnyvale, CA.
Date Deployed: 1990.
Unit Cost: $30.9 million.
Propulsion: Three-stage solid-propellant rocket.
Length: 44 feet (13.41 meters).
Diameter: 83 inches (2.11 meters).
Weight: 130,000 pounds (58,500 kg).
Range: Greater than 4,000 nautical miles (4,600 statute miles, or 7,360 km).
Guidance System: Inertial.
Warhead: Nuclear MIRV (Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles).
Last Update: 17 January 2009
Ballistic Missile Submarine
|Addresses common to submarine commanders are:
Ballston Spa, NY and Charleston, SC (Nuclear propulsion)
St Marys, GA (Kings Bay Base, Atlantic Command)
Poulsbo, WA (Bangor Base, Pacific Command)
Washington State (Bangor Base)
Groton, CT (New London Submarine Base)
Virginia Beach, VA (Undersea warfare)
Colorado Springs, CO (Strategic Command)
Hawaii (Staging bases)
Based at Bangor Base WA
Henry M. Jackson
Blue Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Jon Moretty
Gold Crew Commander: Commander Edward Robledo
Blue Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Bradley Terry
Gold Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Brodey Frailey
Blue Crew Commanding Officer: Commander James McIver
Gold Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Chad Hennings
Blue Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Gustavo Gutierrez
Gold Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Tiger Pittman
Green Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Jeffrey Smith
Undergoing 2-year overhaul in 2011
Green Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Jeffrey Joseph
Blue Crew Commanding Officer: Commander William Johnson
Gold Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Dale Klein
Blue Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Kevin Byrne
Gold Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Robert Peters
Based at Kings Bay Base, GA
Blue Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Todd Figanbaum
Gold Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Robert Wirth
Blue Crew Commanding Officer: Commander John Howrey
Gold Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Richard Dubnansky
Commanding Officer: Commander Adam Palmer
Commanding Officer: Commander Greg Kercher
Blue Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Louis Springer
Gold Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Sean Muth
Blue Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Barry Rodrigues
Gold Crew Commanding Officer: Commander Chris Nash